Cloud Gets Crowded as Big Guys Move in

Ann All

Back in June, I blogged about a Forrester Research survey that found CIOs wanted an all-encompassing suite of Web 2.0 tools from a single vendor -- preferably a known entity like IBM or Microsoft.


IDC must be getting a similar vibe from folks. IDC VP of Research Frank Gens predicted during a recent conference that big guys like IBM or Microsoft are poised to wrest control of the market away from unknown start-ups. According to, Gens told the attendees:

Established vendors are going from "Hey, this is interesting" to "We better start building our future around these models."
Gens taps both Microsoft and IBM as likely to introduce comprehensive cloud-based computing offerings or "data centers in the sky" this year. Nicholas Carr recently posted on his Rough Type blog the rumor that Microsoft has plans to unveil an ambitious cloud computing strategy some time this month.


Interestingly, neither Gens nor Carr mention HP, which ZDNet's Larry Dignan reports is rolling out something called Adaptive Infrastructure as a Service (AIaaS), in essence a subscription-based, ready-made data center infrastructure that is available in different versions geared to varying enterprise computing needs.


While IDC's Gens predicts that the advantage in this emerging market will go to the powerful incumbents, there are still plenty of smaller vendors from which to choose. lists 11 of them culled from a Forrester Research report here. Number two on the list is Amazon, which as I blogged last month is cleverly tweaking its Web services to make them more enterprise-friendly.


Though competitive pricing is first on the CIOs' list of what they want from these suppliers, cited by 79 percent of the executives, it's closely followed by support for industry standards (73 percent), a sign that they won't tolerate vendor lock-in. Says Gens:

Business executives are a little uneasy about handcuffs being put on their business. When you start to build your infrastructure, you want the handcuffs off.
Web 2.0 is fueling the need for these kinds of cloud-based infrastructures. After all, companies must store and manage the rapidly multiplying piles of data generated by blogs, wikis, social networks and other new communications channels.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 18, 2008 4:36 AM Paul Wallis Paul Wallis  says:
Ann, During 2003, the late Jim Gray made an analysis of Distributed Computing Economics: On Demand computing is only economical for very cpu-intensive (100,000 instructions per byte or a cpu-day-per gigabyte of network traffic) applications. Pre-provisioned computing is likely to be more economical for most applications - especially data-intensive ones. And If telecom prices drop faster than Moores law, the analysis fails. If telecom prices drop slower than Moores law, the analysis becomes stronger. Since then, telecom prices have fallen and bandwidth has increased, but more slowly than processing power, leaving the economics worse than in 2003. By 2012, the proposed Blue Gene/Q will operate at about 10,000 TFLOPS outstripping Moores law by a factor of about 10. Ive tried to put The Cloud in historical context and discussed some of its forerunners here. My take is that: Im sure that advances will appear over the coming years to bring us closer, but at the moment there are too many issues and costs with network traffic and data movements to allow it to happen for all but select processor intensive applications, such as image rendering and finite modelling. I dont know when enterprises will switch to The Cloud but given current technological circumstances, and recent events like The Gulf cables being cut and Amazon S3 failing, today the business is being asked to take a leap of faith to put mission critical applications in The Cloud. Reply

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